On Wednesdays, The Amazing Justin Palm! gets drunk as shit and reviews an issue of Marvel Comics’ “What If?” so that you, the reader, can enjoy his drunken ramblings about a comic book whose sole purpose is to talk about shit that never happened, so it doesn’t matter at all. Dear Internet: You’re welcome.
Hey everyone! Long time no “What If Wednesday”! There's a number of reason for that, not the least of which being that, by shear concept alone, this week's What If is pretty fucking weird (And will take a little explaining, too). But hey, I realized that today is the season premiere of Futurama- which is awesome- and that I had jack all else to do waiting for it, so fuck it. Might as well get drunk and rub one of these out for the audience at large. As always, it's all about you, the viewers. I toil tirelessly, all for your entertainment value.
Okay, so let’s get on with it. First thing you need to know, is that back in the day, Thor's secret origin went a little differently than in the movie. All of this will be relevant to the plot, I assure you. Thor was originally a mortal doctor with a limp, named Donald Blake. Dr. Don was vacationing in Norway- as American doctors commonly do, I assume- when one day he came across an alien invasion force, the Stonemen from Saturn! Not gonna lie, I think these guys are rad as hell.
Anyway, as they land, the aliens spot Blake spotting them, so they decide to chase him into the mountains of Norway to kill him. Rushing into a cave, Blake spots an ancient walking stick, which is convenient, but not going to save his life. Then he strikes the stick against a wall in anger, and the stick magically turns him into the Norse god of thunder, Thor. That, my friends, IS convenient, and he proceeds to beat the asses of all the Stonemen. They flee to their ship and fly off into space, because since Blake/Thor is the only human they've ever seen (shitty job of recon, I guess), they assume every human has his awesome abilities. Because this is an early 60's Marvel comic, where all the aliens are stupid as hell. All of this would later be streamlined/retconned/modified to look a lot closer to what the movie gave you, but not by 1978, I guess.
Also, you remember Natalie Portman's character, Jane Foster? Well, uh, she wasn't an astrophysicist in the comics. She was Dr. Blake's nurse at his private practice. That, and as previously discussed, they had a whole Clark Kent/Lois Lane/Superman love triangle thing, and frankly it was boring as hell. Anyway, let's hope that's enough backstory. Moving on to the actual What If?!
Jesus, fucking Uatu. If I ever met the Watcher, I would punch him in the throat. This comic may be 33 pages long, but he spends 3 and a half of them retelling all of what I just explained to me, the intended audience, who most likely already is familiar with this crap. And those first 3 pages? All of them are splash pages. Such a waste of space.
Anyway! Now we learn why this universe we're about to read about is different. See, this time around, when Dr. Blake took his annual pilgrimage to Norway, he brought Jane with him! Presumably they were already bone buddies by this point in this universe? Nope! He's all "I wish I could tell her I love her! But alas, she's too hot to love me, for rich, handsome, and totally as successful as I am, lo, my slight and totally manageable hip dysplasia makes me a lowly cripple in the eyes of all gorgeous brunettes!" Donald Blake feeling sorry for himself about walking with a cane is a major theme of Thor for, like, the first 20 years of the book. Seriously. Frankly, I don't get it, but hey, there was no ADA yet, so maybe life really was that hard for you if you needed a cane at the age of 32 back then?
Anyway, Jane totally does dig this handsome, successful, nearly perfect blonde cripple, but they both suck at talking about their feelings, so they stand around not saying anything until the Stonemen show up with their ill-fated invasion plans. So, this time around, the Stonemen from Saturn spot not one, but two Earthlings they decide to smash, and the two rush off. Because he's a clumsy oaf, Blake drops his cane into a ravine, and when Jane goes to grab it, a (very) small rock slide ensues. Blake hides behind some rocks as Jane starts looking around a nearby cave where, you guessed it, the walking-stick-that-when-you-smack-it-turns-it-into-the-Hammer-of-Thor is hanging out. Naturally, in her anger of finding a mostly useless stick, she smacks the wall with it, which... uh... well, another splash page later, we see girl Thor in all her busty glory.
Now, remember in the movie, the whole part where Odin's all "Whosoever holds this hammer, if they be worthy..." thing? Well, that's been a part of Thor Lore since the beginning, and this comic even acknowledges it. So, I guess, Jane Foster has always been worthy of the power of Thor? I guess? Anyway, "Thor" is too manly a name for Jane, but thankfully she remembers a Norwegian girl she met at Nursing school named "Thordis" (no, really), so she decides to call herself Thordis for the rest of the book.
But just then, the Stonemen have figured out Blake's clever "hide behind a rock" scheme, and are all set to kill him, but thankfully Thordis is here to save him. The Stonemen are beaten, same as before, and Blake reveals to Thordis that he does love Jane; because of course the Superman/Clark/Lois thing has now been reversed.
Meanwhile, in Asgard, Loki escapes his most current prison, and is off to dick around Thor, because that's Loki's whole deal. A while later, we're in New York, and we're reliving a very old issue of Journey into Mystery, where Loki transformed people into negatives (Like, a photo negative? I know, it doesn't make sense to me either). As Dr. Blake panics about all this, Jane rushes off, and hilariously reveals to the audience that she has sculpted a hairbrush out of the Norwegian magical walking stick. Ladies, you all hand carve your own hairbrushes, right? She turns herself into Thordis, and rushes to save the day. When Loki realizes that Thor, his brother via adoption, is now a hot chick, he is immediately aroused. Still, being a dick is a full time job, and Loki is nothing if not a professional.
Loki uses the reflection of the sun's rays off of Thordis's own hammer to hypnotize her. I've said it before and I'll say it again, guys, I'm not making this up, you know? Once hypnotized, he tries to get her to give him the hammer, but she resists, smacks him around, and throws him off the top of the Empire State Building to Asgard to get him out of her hair. The Warriors Three catch him, but he demands an audience with Anthony Hopki- uh, I mean, Odin. Odin's all "How the fuck did you escape your imprisonment this time?" and Loki goes "Dude, forget that, did you know that Thor's back and stuff?", and Odin goes "Shit, son, I sense that he is. Let's have a party to honor him." The Norse gods love to party, you guys. It's no wonder my ancestors worshipped them. Anyway, back on Earth, Jane Foster feels herself being called to Asgard, so she changes into Thordis and heads on over.
Guys, did you see what Loki just did there? Everyone knows that Thor's back, but no one knows that now the role of Thor is being played by Charlize Theron, or that girl from Species! Who wants to bet that shenanigans are about to go down? THIS GUY.
So, Thordis goes to Asgard, and at first all the lesser gods are all "who's this hot chick cosplaying as a rule-63 Thor?" But then Odin sees her and FREAKS RIGHT THE HELL OUT. After taking a chill pill, Odin expounds that back in the day, he sent Thor to Earth in the guise of Don Blake to teach him humility, but, uh, he's uncomfortable with a woman gaining his son's power, regardless of, you know, worthiness?
Now hold the phone, I've read a ton of early Thor, and most of it was about Odin being pissed off that Jane wasn't worthy of Thor's godly genitals, but here it turns out, she's super worthy after all? Oh, irony. Fandral the Dashing gets all touchy feely on her, so she proceeds to whoop ass, and thus, Odin sends her back to Earth, if only to get her out of his beard hair. After banishing Thordis for daring to have ovaries, Odin feels sad, and so does the Lady Sif, who was supposed to marry Thor, eventually. Loki plots, because, again, that's what he does best.
Thordis goes off to have all of Thor's early adventures, and even helps form the Avengers, just so that professional douche-bag Giant-Man can gawk at her awesome rack while simultaneously ignoring his girlfriend. (It's on page 21, panel 3, for those that think I'm being too harsh on that asshole.) In Asgard, Odin needs to take his celestial nap, but he fears doing this while Thor is away. Admitting that all of this is his fault? Not likely. But as Loki figures out how to take advantage of this, Sif rides off to Midgard, to see if she can make Donald Blake remember who he is.
As Blake is sulking on a beach about being so lame (ha-ha! A pun!), Sif appears as a girl drowning. Blake rescues her, and to repay him, she tells him she loves him, turns into her goddess self, and heals his (not all that severe) limp. This comic is not very subtle with its sexual politics, people. Don is pretty stoked to be dating a literal goddess and to no longer being slightly limp, but then Loki shows up to fuck it all up. Sif and Loki fight, and even Don gets in on the action to save his new (divine) gal-pal, but just as Loki is about to kill Don (who, remember, is secretly Thor) for good, Thordis shows up, and Loki flees to Asgard. Blake is fine, but as Thordis checks on Sif we learn she's really hurt. In a display of the most Clark Kent moment I've ever seen outside of a damn Superman comic, Blake performs drastic surgery on the goddess Sif, with Thordis as his nurse, and NO ONE realizes that she's actually Jane Foster in disguise.
I'm gonna try not too hard to think about that much longer, because that entire sentence is insane. Anyway, Sif gets better, and loves Don even more, which infuriates Loki. Unfortunately, with only 4 pages left to go with this insane story, we don't have time to dwell on any of this, because it's time for fucking Ragnarok to begin!!!! SERIOUSLY. Oh, and Don wants to come to, because why not? If the entire universe is days from destruction, he might as well watch from the best seats in the house.
So, Loki has taken over as king as Odin sleeps. And there's this alien asshole named Mangog, who's killing everyone, although I don't remember him in any versions of the Ragnarok myth that I've ever read before (I guess he'll be in Essential Thor volume 2?). Anyway, Loki's not doing anything to stop him, and I guess he kills a bunch of dudes or something, and then Sif, Thordis, and Blake fight Mangog for a while until Odin wakes up and magics him to death. Anyway, Loki's stupid plan, whatever it was, is thwarted. Odin takes the hammer away from Thordis, revealing it to belong to Blake, and revealing Thordis to be Jane Foster (no duh!), and thus, Blake is Thor again. But then Odin makes Jane a totally new goddess, with no name of her own. Goddess Jane is feeling pretty sweet about that, until she realizes that Thor and Sif are still, like, totally into each other. So now, even though she's a freakin' goddess, she still needs a man to define her, and doesn't have one. But wait! What's this? Thor's creepy dad, Odin, totally wants to bone her? She is all about that, so she promptly marries her... her ex-boyfriend’s dad, and, uh, that's the end of the story.
Nope. No, I quit. This one got even weirder than I could have imagined. This one just got fucking creepy, and that's nearly all I have to say about it. I actually dig the idea that Odin was so wrong about Jane Foster for all those years, but then we get this total left turn with the ending, with the creepy gross "hey baby, I'm older and wiser than him" shit, and .... nope. No, I quit. Fuck it.
Next time, on What If Wednesdays! What If the Original Marvel Bullpen had Become the Fantastic Four! Yep! Stan Lee is Mr. Fantastic! Jack Kirby is the Thing! Also, King Kirby cameos as the writer, artist, and editor, and if you love Kirby solo projects as much as I do, you know insanity is coming! It'll be weird as hell, but hey, this is What If?, what do you expect?